Taiwan’s military fired warning shots at Chinese drones flying over an outpost just off China’s coastline, signaling escalating tensions and the autonomous island’s resolve to respond to renewed provocations. emphasized.
Taiwan’s military said in a statement that the military took action on Tuesday after drones were spotted hovering over the Kinmen island group.
A statement on Wednesday said the unmanned aerial vehicle was for “civilian use,” but gave no other details. The drone said it returned to the nearby Chinese city of Xiamen after firing. Taiwan had previously only fired flares as a warning.
The incident comes amid heightened tensions after China launched missiles into the sea earlier this month and sent planes and ships across the Taiwan Strait demarcation line. It followed angry rhetoric from Beijing over a trip to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to visit the island for the first time in 25 years.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and its recent actions are seen as a rehearsal for a possible blockade or aggression. China’s military exercises have drawn strong criticism from Taiwan’s main ally, the United States, and regional democracies such as Australia and Japan. In early August, some Chinese missiles fell into nearby Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Taiwan maintains control over Kinmen and the Matsu group of islands in the Taiwan Strait. It is a relic of the efforts of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists to maintain a foothold on the mainland after being driven out by Mao’s communists during the 1949 civil war. .
Taiwan’s defense ministry said China’s actions did not intimidate Taiwan’s 23 million residents, but only bolstered support for the military and the status quo of de facto independence.
Anti-drone defenses are being beefed up as part of a 12.9% increase in the defense ministry’s annual budget next year, officials said. We are planning, totaling NTD 415.1 billion ($13.8 billion) for the year.
The US is also reportedly preparing to approve a $1.1 billion defense package for Taiwan that includes anti-ship and air-to-air missiles that will be used to repel a potential Chinese invasion attempt. increase.
Following China’s drills, the United States sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, which China seeks to designate as sovereign waters. Foreign delegations from the United States, Japan and European countries continue to arrive in Taipei to provide diplomatic and economic support.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is currently visiting Taiwan to discuss the production of semiconductors, the critical chips used in everyday electronics and a battleground in the technology race between the United States and China.
Ducey seeks suppliers for a new $12 billion Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) plant under construction in his state.
Last week, the governor of Indiana visited Taiwan on a similar mission.
Taiwan produces more than half of the world’s supply of high-end processor chips. China’s missile launches during the exercise have disrupted shipping and air traffic, highlighting the potential disruption to chip exports.
In response to Ducey’s visit, China reaffirmed Wednesday that it opposes any official contact between the United States and Taiwan. This was a further reminder of the Communist Party’s refusal to recognize the separation of powers within the U.S. government and the right of U.S. local officials to operate independently of the regime.
“We urge U.S. officials to suspend all official contact with Taiwan and refrain from sending false signals to the Taiwan Independence Army,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference. .
“China will take strong measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.
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